What Your Urine Says About You and Your Health

What Your Urine Says About You and Your Health

Your urine can tell you a lot about your health and your habits. Urine is produced when blood passes through the kidneys, which filter out excess waste and water. This waste travels through tubes known as ureters and is stored in the bladder until you urinate.

Urine is roughly 95 percent water, and the rest is composed of thousands of compounds — both inorganic and organic — exiting the body.

Certain changes in your urine or urine habits, either during or after urination, may indicate that you have a medical condition. These signs often include:

  • Dark or discolored urine
  • Cloudy urine
  • Blood in urine
  • Frequency of urination
  • Pain during urination

The presence of abnormal amounts of certain chemicals, such as proteins, sugars, ketones, and others, can also help your healthcare provider diagnose and monitor various medical conditions.

What Do the Smell and Color of My Urine Tell Me?

Changes in the smell and color of your urine are typically harmless, but sometimes they can indicate a medical problem. Normal, healthy urine is usually mildly yellow with a slight odor. (1)

Urine can range in odor for various reasons:

  • Forty percent of people can smell a change in urine after they eat asparagus, sometimes called “asparagus pee.”
  • Dehydration can produce an ammonialike odor.
  • Fruity-smelling urine can be a sign of type 2 diabetes.
  • Foul-smelling urine can indicate bacteria from an infection.

Urine can also vary in color for a variety of reasons:

  • Clear urine is a sign of good hydration and potential overhydration.
  • Pale yellow urine is an indicator of good hydration.
  • Dark yellow urine is a sign to drink more fluids.
  • Amber-colored urine can indicate dehydration.
  • Orange urine can be caused by various foods or medications or be a sign of potential liver problems.
  • Pink or red urine can be caused by foods or medications or it can also be a sign of blood in the urine.
  • Blue or green urine can be caused by medications or food dyes, but it can be a sign of bacteria or the rare condition known as blue diaper syndrome, too.
  • Dark-brown urine can be a sign of liver or kidney problems.
  • White urine can occur when your body contains excess calcium or phosphate, or it may indicate a urinary tract infection.
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You should always consult with your doctor if you notice a sudden change in the color or odor of your urine.


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